For many Texans, dogs are part of the family. They are social animals who love to spend time with their owners. Yet many dogs all over Texas live their entire lives at the end of a chain. Dogs permanently tied up outside often lack proper food, water, and shelter because their owners have all but forgotten about them. They become lonely, bored, and anxious, and can also develop aggressive behaviors from psychological and social deprivation. It is a tragic existence for the animals many of us call family.
Dog chaining poses serious risks to dogs’ physical and psychological well-being.
Definition of Inhumane Tethering
Tethering means using a rope, strap, chain, or cord to tie a dog to a fixed object in order to keep the dog within a certain area for a continuous time period. Tethering becomes inhumane when a dog is kept chained alone in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years, and consequently, suffers immense physical and psychological damage. (humanesociety.org, “Chaining and tethering dogs FAQ”)
Consequences of Inhumane Tethering
The necks of chained dogs often become raw as a result of improperly fitted collars and their constant yanking and straining to escape confinement. Some chained dogs have collars embedded in their necks because their owners fail to replace the collars when the dogs out grow them. Dogs also frequently become entangled
in their chains or tethers, which limits the dogs’ access to food, water, and shelter, and can cause serious physical injury. And the chains often weigh more than the dogs themselves, which significantly limits the dogs’ range of movement. An otherwise friendly dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive.
Chained dogs are statistically more dangerous than even free-running packs of dogs because their unfortunate circumstances render them undersocialized, territorial, and prone to aggression. According to a study, chained dogs killed at least 109 people between 1965 and 2001 (Denko, DPS Tethering Study): 99 of the incidents involved children who wandered into the reach of a chained dog and 11 were attacks
by dogs who broke free of their restraints. Several Texas children are included among these fatalities; in 2007, ten-year-old Amber Jones was mauled to death by a chained dog she helped free from a fence in San Antonio (PETA.org, “Chained-Dog Attack Summaries”) and in 2008, five-year-old Pablo Hernandez was killed by a neighbor’s dog who was “always chained up” in Weslaco (BrownsvilleHerald.com, “Pit bull attacks, kills boy near Weslaco”).